Fleet News

Japanese maker refocuses on more mainstream product

PROFITABILITY is the key word for Mazda both in the UK and globally as the refocused Japanese manufacturer continues to become more mainstream. Renowned for its engineering prowess and much-loved sports cars Mazda has been transformed since Ford took a controlling 33.5% stake in the company.

From losing $1 million a day in the mid-1990s it is now earning $1 million a day and in the year to March 31, 1999 reported its first consolidated profit for six years. Mazda Cars president Jim Miller admits 'we have fought through a lot' but says the company has enormous potential for future growth, particularly in Europe.

The brand's UK chief revealed how the company planned to increase sales from 30,000 units this year to 35,000 in 2000. Crucial to that growth will be sales of the mainstream 323 and 626 and its now three-strong family of MPVs - the Demio, Premacy and MPV - and light commercial vehicle business. In addition the MX-5 and Xedos 9 are being seen by Mazda Cars UK managing director Tim Tozer as 'the icing on the cake'. Against that background Mazda's longtime search for a new fleet chief has been completed with the recent appointment of Emma Hill, who is charged with taking fleet and corporate sales from 40% of UK business back to the 50% level it has previously enjoyed.

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